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How horticulture and art is tearing down social borders

Crocosmia × is part of The Plurality of Existence - an art project initiated and developed by artist Clodagh Emoe in collaboration with asylum seekers. Photo: Dr Emoe.

The Plurality of Existence seeks to use Crocosmia × crocosmiiflorathis - a familiar and evocative wild flower - to redefine the notion of “native”.

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23 March 2018 | 0

The Plurality of Existence art project aims to represent hidden narratives from those who are not adequately represented in society. From its beginnings in the garden of the Spirasi Centre in Dublin – an organisation that works with asylum seekers, refugees, and other disadvantaged migrant groups – the project has created a shared space of equality and dignity for its members.

River Corrib Audio installation in Galway. Photo: Dr Emoe.

River Corrib Audio installation in Galway. Photo: Dr Emoe.

The group works with many different mediums with one of their noted successes to date being a collection of site specific audio works which transmitted poetry across waterways in Dublin, Cork, Galway, and Carlow.

Crocosmia × crocosmiiflora is the scientific name for the common Montbretia plant found along country roads in rural Ireland. The corm of this flower was unearthed while gardening in Spirasi.

“This wild flower – found throughout the Irish countryside – is in fact a native of South Africa. In digging up this corm, we found a metaphor of hope for our group, who had themselves been uprooted and forced to leave their homeland and create a new life for themselves in a foreign land.

“The aim is to cultivate this metaphor through a series of workshops that bring art and horticulture together in local primary and secondary schools.” said Dr Clodagh Emoe, artist and lecturer at the Institute of Art, Design and Technology (IADT).

Crocosmia × crocosmiiflora plants are also known as Montbretia, Fealeastram Dearg or Back to School Flower. Photo: Eoin McLaughlinn.

Crocosmia × crocosmiiflora plants are also known as Montbretia, Fealeastram Dearg or Back to School Flower. Photo: Eoin McLaughlinn.

Crocosmia × will culminate in a number of site works scheduled for September 2018. Voices in Kinyarwanda, Luganda, Croatian, and Urdu will echo along the avenue in the new DIT campus in Grangegorman while the Monbretia are in bloom, and a site-specific artwork, located on the fringes of the entrance of the Royal Hospital Kilmainham (RHK), will be launched by the Irish Museum of Modern Art (IMMA) with an event celebrating diversity and inclusion.

Crocosmia × is funded by Dublin City Council Community and Neighbourhood Award and Grangegorman Development Agency, and is supported by IMMA and the OPW with a special thanks to Mr. Middleton.

If you are have a spare patch of Montbretai in your garden or along your botharin and would like to donate to the project contact Dr Emoe at clodaghemoe@gmail.com. They have a car and will travel.

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